Hollywood does "original" about as well as it does "geography of the Midwest." Thus, year after year we're treated to films with plots and themes so similar that if the movie business were college, at least a few screenwriters would be taking a trip to the Dean's office. Here are twelve of the most ridiculously similar movies ever to be released within a year of each other, as well as our scientific analysis of which ones sucked, and which ones sucked even worse.
Tombstone vs. Wyatt Earp (1993/1994)
Pitch: Getting America's most famous cowboy gunfight at the O.K. Corral up on screen is worth hours of stultifying plot to get there.
Crucial Differences: One's a faithful recounting of historical events, stars Kevin Costner, and is approximately two hundred and forty-seven hours long. The other stops just short of including a robot sidekick in terms of historical accuracy, stars Kurt Russell weighed down by a ten-pound mustache, and is pretty much wall-to-wall catchphrases and gun fights. Guess which one you'd rent if you were writing an essay about Wyatt Earp, proper gun maintenance or frontier-era tax laws? Now guess which one won't put you into a coma?
Winner: Tombstone'll be our Huckleberry, whatever the hell that means. Actually, this Doc Holliday catchphrase about sums up Tombstone in a nutshell: it doesn't actually make an ounce of goddamn sense if you think about it at all, but sounds totally badass if you don't.
Volcano vs. Dante's Peak (1997)
Pitch: Volcanoes are pretty damn scary, especially if they threaten beautiful rich people.
Crucial Differences: Both plots are equally inane, although Volcano scores extra ludicrous points for having the lava blaster erupt right in the middle of downtown Los Angeles. It really comes down to taste in leading men. Do you like 'em for grizzled and bitter, a la Tommy Lee Jones in Volcano, or does Pierce Brosnan's boyish good looks just leave you all weak in the knees?
Winner: Dante's Peak. While Volcano definitely maxes out the unintentional hilarity quotient, God help us, we just love us some Remington Steele.